CONCORD, N.H. – Not long after the New Hampshire state House on Wednesday voted 211-116 against repealing the state’s marriage-equality law, the anti-gay hate group National Organization for Marriage (NOM) vowed to get revenge.
“We are very disappointed in the failure of the New Hampshire House of Representatives to pass compromise legislation restoring marriage and providing for civil unions for same-sex couples,” NOM president Brian Brown said in a statement.
“This was the law prior to marriage being hijacked by legislators who accepted hundreds of thousands in campaign contributions from gay marriage supporters without ever telling voters they intended to redefine marriage. We consider any vote cast against HB 437 to be a vote in favor of gay marriage, and we will act to hold every legislator accountable for such a vote,” he said.
"While we are disappointed in this vote today, we remain committed to giving the voters of New Hampshire the opportunity to restore the traditional definition of marriage. The only time gay marriage activists are able to win is when they can bypass the people and get activist judges or legislators to do their bidding, usually after plying them with large campaign contributions,” Brown said.
"This is a sad day for New Hampshire families who in 2010 had elected what they thought was a solid pro-marriage majority. They were once again let down by politicians who promised them one thing and then left them at the altar when the vote was on the line. These legislators will be held accountable."
The New Hampshire vote was a humiliating loss for NOM, which for the first time endorsed civil unions. Many political observers expected the state House, where three-fourths of the 400-member chamber are Republican, to go along with the repeal bill even though the Democratic Gov. John Lynch had vowed to veto it. More than 100 Republicans voted against the bill, and many of them gave passionate speeches on the House floor.
Since New Hampshire approved marriage equality two years ago, almost 2,000 gay and lesbian couples have married in the state.
The repeal effort was sponsored by anti-gay Rep. David Bates (R-Windham), who ignored statewide polls which showed that 59% of voters were against taking away marriage equality.
"After the last election where Republicans gained control of both the House and the Senate, some thought that marriage equality was doomed. But many, many Republicans courageously stood up against repeal," said Lee Swislow, executive director of Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD), told Reuters.
One of the outspoken supporters of marriage equality was Craig Stowell, a former Marine who fought in the Iraq War, whose brother is gay. Stowell made numerous appearances on national TV networks to give his heartfelt story.
Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont have legalized marriage equality, along with the District of Columbia. Maryland and Washington state have approved marriage equality, but face voter referendums that could overturn the laws. New Jersey lawmakers approved marriage equality, but Republican Gov. Chris Christie vetoed the bill.
Meanwhile, Californians are waiting for the court system to decide the fate of Proposition 8, which took away marriage equality in 2008.